Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said today that he and other colleagues in the upper chamber will lead a push to get the Pentagon to reclassify the 2009 Fort Hood shooting as terrorism.
The Department of Defense infamously called the rampage that left 13 dead an act of “workplace violence.” The court-martial of Army Major Nidal Hasan was postponed indefinitely on Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces over whether Hasan can keep his beard during trial proceedings.
A movement was started by the Coalition of Fort Hood Heroes to ask Congress to put the heat on the Obama administration to change the classification — and make victims eligible for Purple Hearts in the process.
“Until the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army acknowledge the Fort Hood shooting as the terrorist attack that it was, and step up to accept responsibility, apologize and make good for its mistakes and for the harm that the government policies have caused to us and to the U.S. military, it will continue to dishonor the lives of those lost and the pain and suffering still experienced by those of us who survived,” said Shawn Manning, who was wounded in the attack.
“I respectfully disagree with the Department of Defense decision to classify the Fort Hood shooting as workplace violence. It’s not fair to the victims, and their families, for this incident to be described in that manner,” Graham said in a statement.
“Based upon what we already know, this episode fits squarely into the realm of an act of terrorism. I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to challenge this characterization by the Pentagon and push for an accurate description of the tragic incident that took place at Fort Hood,” he said. “It was terrorism and it should be described that way. The difference in characterization between workplace violence and an act of terrorism is meaningful, in a variety of ways, to the victims and their families.”
Pentagon spokesman George Little said the DoD wouldn’t “further characterize the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009″ while Hasan’s court proceedings were still under way.
“Major Hassan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. As with all pending (court martial) matters, the accused is innocent until proven guilty,” Little said.
“Under military law Major Hasan is presumed innocent,” Graham said. “He will be vigorously defended by counsel and provided due process during his court martial.”